San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Transportation services Frustrate Traffic

Traffic crawled Wednesday morning – and in some places it stood perfectly still – as private transportation companies tried to drive home a point about a bill before Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly.

Blocking key avenues into the city from Escazú, La Uruca, Heredia and Cartago and disrupting traffic in other parts of the country on Wednesday morning, transportation service drivers, also known as porteadores, protested a possible end to their businesses.

The law sitting in the Legislative Assembly would have given exclusive rights to authorized taxi drivers, eliminating the porteadores’ ability to legally transport people, thus leaving them jobless. Not only would the law stop bandit driver services, but it could jeopardize private ambulances, tourist transport and student vans, said Víctor Salazar, who owns a private transportation company.

“Only public transport (such as red taxis) would have been permitted,” he said. “People didn’t think this was very serious, but if it was passed, private ambulances wouldn’t be able to do their work.”

Salazar, whose company Transportes San Jorge offers limousine pick-ups, food deliveries and van services, said that thanks to the demonstrations on Wednesday, legislators moved the issue from first place on the agenda to 120th, buying another four years.

“It was unacceptable,” said Rodrigo Arias, minister of the presidency. “I hope it doesn’t happen again. The solution is not in the streets. The solution is conversation with legislators.”

–chrissie long


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